Impact Stories from Professional Growth Policy Area
Fellow empowers 120 girls with Green Tech Girls Summer Bootcamp
Fellow(s): Damilola Asaleye
Policy Area(s): Economic Impact, Education Diplomacy/Mentoring, Empowering Women and Girls, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Sustainability, Professional Development, Professional Growth, Youth Engagement
Fellow Damilola Asaleye of Nigeria (2020-2021) recently helped produce the Green Tech Girls Summer Bootcamp, a five-day program for high school girls organized by the Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organization (GWTEO).
The summer camp takes a holistic approach to activities relevant to girls and women that will enhance their self confidence and abilities to become sustainable technology leaders and change makers. Damilola, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ashdam Solar Company, helped in the production of learning sessions on the topics of basic solar installation, upcycling, sustainable agriculture, financial literacy, information and communication technologies, leadership skills, teamwork, healthy living and visioning. The Green Tech Girls Summer Bootcamp is not the only stop on Damilola’s summer of women and girls’ empowerment. She is also taking part in the BEMORE Summer Bootcamp in Akure, Nigeria with close to 400 girls over the following weeks.
“My summer of impacting girls started yesterday Monday 15th August with the Green Tech Girls Summer Bootcamp,” Damilola recently shared, “and I’ve got my hyper attitude on with adrenaline pumping.”
Report Date...: 8/22/2022
Fellow publishes paper on magnetic field shielding
Fellow(s): Ibtihal Elshami
Libyan fellow Ibtihal Elshami (2020-2021) co-published an academic paper, “Magnetic Field Shielding Behavior of Mesh Wire in Low Frequencies”, in the July edition of leading electrical engineering journal, IEEE Xplore. Magnetic fields are waves that emit from many common electronics and wireless communication technologies. Shielding is necessary to reduce performance interference and cyber security risks. Additionally, overexposure to certain low frequency waves has been associated with potential elevated risk of some illnesses and cancers. Ibtihal’s research addresses the rapid adoption of electronic devices that complicate “our daily electromagnetic environment” and explores the under researched magnetic field shielding capacity of thin wire mesh on low frequency waves. Ibtihal has been an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Technology-Benghazi for eight years and has written several papers on the topic.Read More »
Report Date...: 7/25/2022
South African Fellows co-host Aviation and Space camp for girls
Fellow(s): Darshni Appalsamy
Country: South Africa
South African fellow Refilwe Ledwaba (2019) recently hosted her Girls Fly Programme Africa (GFPA) aviation and space technology camp in Western Cape, South Africa with volunteer support from fellows Darshni Appalsamy (2022) and Nobukhosi Dlamini (2019). The GFPA provides an immersive STEAM development program focused on aviation, space technology, mentorship and career-building skills for a cohort of 40 high school girls. The experience included hands-on practice with 3D software, a visit to a South African National Space Agency, face-to-face interactions with industry professionals. Darshni led a Design Thinking workshop, sharing that she was so happy “to help these smart, ambitious, talented young ladies realize that their dreams, too, are not too big or out of reach. That not even the sky is the limit!”Read More »
Report Date...: 7/25/2022
Mentor & fellow team up to deliver computing workshop
Fellow(s): “Kathy Giori, Faten Khalfallah”
Country: Tunisia, United States
Mentor Kathy Giori, with the support of fellow Faten Khalfallah (Tunisia, 2015), facilitated a workshop introducing young women to the world of physical computing with Microblocks, a programming language that runs on microcontrollers. Kathy has extensive experience leading workshops for Microblocks, where she directs global partnerships and outreach and serves as a member of the Project Leadership Committee. The interactive event was a part of Get Science, Engineering, and Technology (GetSET) 2022, an outreach program hosted by the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SCV SWE) that empowers and motivates young women from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM.
Faten assisted the event while on a visit to the U.S. during which she served as an event partner for the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation Summit in Dallas, Texas and an attendee of the Google-sponsored Girl Powered VEX Robotics Workshop in Sunnyvale, CA. She joined these events as a representative of Tunisia and the First Skills Club, a non-profit she co-founded with her husband Rabah Hammouda to provide educational programming for kids to learn and communicate in English via STEM education.
Report Date...: 7/25/2022
Fellow raises six-figure seed funding for e-commerce startup
Fellow(s): Shatha Ajaj
Country: Palestinian Territories
Modesta, a fashion startup founded by Palestinian fellow Shatha Ajaj (2019), has raised six figures in a recent seed funding round. The fundraising round was led by venture capital firm 500 Startups with input from angel investors and the Innovative Private Sector Development Project (IPSD), a program funded by the World Bank.
Founded in March 2020, Modesta is a flourishing e-commerce fashion platform that specializes in diverse offerings of modest women’s clothing. Modesta aims to attract a global customer base seeking an easy and enjoyable way to shop for less-revealing women’s attire for any reason — religious or otherwise. As founder and CEO, Shatha shares that she “is very proud of what Modesta has been able to achieve in the two years since its founding and hopes to “satisfy the needs of modern women who adopt modesty in their lifestyle.”
Shatha intends to use the six-figure seed funding to broaden Modesta’s clientele in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and develop its technology to include more brands and vendors. “The promised land for Modesta is a global vision as a leading modest e-commerce [platform] for women to express their individuality,” Shatha shared in a recent press release.
Report Date...: 7/18/2022
Cameroonian Fellows tapped for One Young World conference
Fellow(s): “Christabel Ngwashi Apholung, Zyh Akumawah”
Cohort: 2020-2021, 2022
Cameroonian fellows Christabel Ngwashi Apholung (2020-2021) and Zyh Akumawah (2022) have been selected to attend the annual One Young World Summit in the UK as scholars of AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme (YHP). YHP seeks to prevent the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease by confronting the primary risk factors – tobacco use, alcohol overconsumption, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and air pollution.
Christabel is a medical doctor and the founder of MoreThanJustAnMD Health, a storytelling platform that utilizes social media, radio and television to promote proactive health care. She is also steering the Fight Against Substance Abuse Project (FASAP) to educate young adult students about healthy lifestyles and reduce substance abuse.
Zyh, also a medical doctor, is the founder and medical director of EasyHealth, an organization that combines accessible digital technologies with community cooperation to improve the quality of health among rural Cameroonians. Zyh also contributes her time to St Mary Soledad Catholic Hospital and Doctors Without Borders as a medical and mental health resource. She believes that “an amplified voice is key to achieving the policy changes that are needed to help establish more focus on non-communicable diseases among young persons.”
Christabel and Zyh will convene with more than 1,000 young changemakers worldwide to present and network among One Young World Counselors. Past counselors have included Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Emma Watson, Professor Muhammad Yunus and Arianna Huffington.
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Fellow hosts seminar on business accounting with help of NGO
Fellow(s): Merjen Saparmyradova
Merjen Saparmyradova (Turkmenistan, 2019) recently collaborated with Public Accountants, an Ashgabat-based NGO, to lead a seminar on the importance of business accounting as part of her Launch Life Coding Bootcamp for women and girls. The seminar focused on building its participants’ foundational knowledge of economic, financial and legal matters critical for small-scale enterprises and entrepreneurs in Turkmenistan.
Launch Life Coding Bootcamp is designed to promote the economic rights and opportunities of its participants by developing their coding aptitude while also growing their resume, cover letter and interview skills. Merjen believes that “teamwork and collaboration can foster a healthy work culture and environment where teams of individuals can achieve goals through powerful skills and effective work.”
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Mentor leads POWER sessions with U.S. State Department
Fellow(s): Lucie Newcomb
Long-time TechWomen mentor Lucie Newcomb, CEO of NewComm Global Group, collaborated with diplomatic partners to host a series of webinars for Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER), an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
Topics of the webinar series focused on value proposition and product market fit, business planning, funding sources and pitching. Lucie co-designed and co-facilitated these sessions with stakeholders from the U.S. Embassies in Tokyo and Seoul.
POWER was launched in 2019 to leverage diplomatic relationships and resources to promote women’s economic empowerment worldwide. It connects the U.S. private sector with U.S. missions abroad to encourage opportunities, partnership and strategy among women-led enterprises in emerging markets.
Lucie has worked as a Speaker Program Trainer and Curriculum Developer for the U.S. State Department for more than 8 years. She actively attended last month’s SelectUSA Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and has recently been named one of the 150 Great Leaders of 2022 by the Global Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Fellow appointed Vice-Chancellor of STEM university in Nigeria
Fellow(s): Francisca Oladipo
In early July, it was announced that fellow Francisca Oladipo (2016) had been confirmed as the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Adewumi University (TAU) in Oko Irese of Kwara State, Nigeria. Francisca has over 20 years of academic leadership and research experience, most recently as Director of Quality Assurance and Head of the Computer Science Department at Federal University Lokoja (FUL), where she also worked as a coordinator of the FUL-RWEYDF Centre for ICT (Information and Computer Technology) for Development and Training, a collaborative effort between FUL and the Rural Women Empowerment and Youth Development Foundation. In addition to these roles, Francisca also serves as Executive Coordinator of VODAN Africa, a collaboration of universities and health facilities across the continent of Africa that provides a “platform to enable access to critical data needed from Africa to fight the novel COVID-19.”
Francisca shares that she “warmly welcome[s] this opportunity to co-create with all the [sic] critical stakeholders to realize the vision of the founders of Thomas Adewumi University through the delivery of accessible, student-centered education in Science, Technology and Medicine.”
Thomas Adewumi University is an accredited, STEM-based institution of higher education with the mission of providing a “world-class academic environment that supports staff and students in conducting cutting-edge teaching and research in the areas of Science, Technology and Medicine …[for] the benefit of humanity.”
Francisca earned a PhD in Computer Science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University and has completed continuing education courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Oxford and University of Essex. She completed her experience as a TechWomen emerging leader with a mentor from Google in 2016.
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow subject of short film on pioneering satellite build
Fellow(s): Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova
Kyrgyz fellow Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova (2019) recently starred as the lead subject of a 7-minute documentary on the Kyrgyz Space Program produced by the Eastern Standard Times (EST). Kyzzhibek is the 27-year-old director of the Kyrgyz Space Program and leads an all-girls team on a mission to build and launch their country’s first ever satellite. The Kyrgyz Space Program was founded in 2018 to advance science, education and gender equality in the country and Central Asian region. With no national space infrastructure to lean on, Kyzzhibek and her team have started from scratch, first building a lightweight 10cm x 10cm x 10cm educational model of a CubeSat, a miniature satellite which can collect and analyze simple data from space before moving on to draft and flight models. In the short film, Kyzzhibek explains, “Our project [is] not only aiming to launch the satellite, but also to educate girls and women. More than 100 women [have] graduated our course and they [have] started [sic] how to solder, how to create 3d models, how to code, and [how to] work with Arduino microcontrollers and their sensors.” She continues, “after completing our courses, some of the girls wanted to study programming and become software developers and some [went on] to universities with technical majors.”
Despite the simplicity of the satellite model, the project has already lasted four years and is estimated to cost more than 100,000 USD. The Kyrgyz Space Program raises funds in part through a Patreon page. There, they honor important women from international space history with various donation brackets named after the famous figures, including Shiaki Mukai, the first female Asian astronaut, Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim female astronaut and Anna Lee Fisher, the first mother to journey to space. The history-making satellite has been named after Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a 20-year-old Kyrgyz medical student who was murdered by her abductor in a police station while trying to report her own bride kidnapping.
“We really want girls in our country, our region and globally to understand that they are capable of doing anything,” Kyzzhibek declares. “The world is such a big place, and the universe is enormous. No matter what other people tell you, always believe in yourself.”
Report Date...: 7/4/2022